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Former San José Mayor Johnny Araya still favorite in Costa Rica’s presidential race

July 4, 2013

Former San José Mayor Johnny Araya, the ruling National Liberation Party’s candidate for president in 2014, remains in front of the pack leading up to next year’s presidential elections, with 26 percent support from potential voters, according to a survey released Thursday by the daily La Nación.

Rodolfo Hernández, a candidate from the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) and who joined the presidential race last May, came second with 12 percent.

The poll conducted by research company UNIMER places Ottón Solis of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) as third-favorite with 9 percent, although Solís is not a candidate for president for the party he founded. PAC’s current candidate, former lawmaker Epsy Cambell, came in right after Solís with 5 percent of voter support.

Broad Front lawmaker José María Villalta and Otto Guevara from the Libertarian Movement obtained 3 and 2 percent, respectively.

Araya’s figures, however, have not shown improvement since last year. Last October, then-mayor Araya also reached 26 percent in a similar UNIMER poll.

He has fallen short of the 40 percent of voters needed to win the presidency without a runoff, according to Costa Rica’s legislation.

Araya will marry longtime girlfriend Sandra León on Friday night.

The PLN also leads polls for legislative candidates, with 23 percent support. PUSC candidates received 15 percent support from respondents, PAC received 10 percent and the Broad Front Party and Libertarian Movement Party received 3 percent each.

The UNIMER survey was conducted from June 4-13 by consulting potential voters in 1,200 homes throughout the country. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent, La Nación reported.

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